What Is Disarming A Narcissist? 12 Simple Ways To Do So

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Narcissists are self-absorbed and self-involved so much that they ignore others’ feelings (1). If you know someone, you need to learn how to disarm a narcissist to tackle their manipulative strategies effectively. It’s difficult to understand their intentions as sometimes they look so charming with their phony behavior and sweet words, but then they start to showcase their boastful attitude and inflated self-esteem. They can even manipulate you and make you say ‘yes’ when you have to say ‘no.’ It’s wise to be at a safe distance from someone who exhibits narcissistic tendencies as they disregard your feelings and could also hurt you. So, keep reading this post as we bring you some effective ways of disarming a narcissist. You may try a few of them but not altogether as they could get suspicious of your intention.

What Is Disarming A Narcissist?

We cannot control an individual’s narcissistic behavior. Therefore, we must be able to spot them and disarm them to protect ourselves from being hurt. Disarming a narcissist involves actions that protect you from the person’s narcissism and might also help tone it down a bit.

The biggest challenge with disarming a narcissist is that they are manipulative, selfish, and demanding yet exceptionally charming (2). Therefore, you must control your emotions and avoid feeding their ego to disarm them.

12 Tips To Disarm A Narcissist

The best way to disarm a narcissist is to be better prepared. Here are 12 effective tips for disarming a narcissist.

1. Keep your cool

If you know a narcissist, you know how much they love to fight. The best way to disarm a narcissist is to keep your cool and not press the ‘argue’ button with them. When you lose your cool and end up fighting with a narcissist, they will pin you down as the bad person. Keep your cool, and don’t react in front of a narcissist. This requires some strong emotional conditioning on your part but, eventually, when you don’t react, the narcissist will back off and move on.

2. Avoid feeding their ego

Narcissists have inflated self-esteem and ego. They may already be used to being praised or lauded for things they do or have done. Feeding this ego is dangerous for their narcissism and others who deal with them (3). An effective way to subtly disarm a narcissist is by not feeding their ego. Once the narcissist is used to you not praising them, they are less likely to affect you later.

3. Don’t take responsibility for their actions

Every time you deal with a narcissist, remember that you are not responsible for their thoughts and feelings. It is very natural for most people who fight with a narcissist to go on a guilt trip and feel responsible for what happened. But remember that if a narcissist is angry with you, you are not responsible for it. Offering to take the blame for what happened is the worst thing to do. As you ignore the narcissist and do not take any blame, they will eventually get over their emotions and move on.

4. Avoid ultimatums

Trying to gain control and giving ultimatums is not healthy for any relationship. When dealing with a narcissist, many people are tempted to use ultimatums. If you do not like the narcissist’s behavior, resorting to ultimatums is stooping to their level to get things done. When you use ultimatums or force, you are allowing the narcissist to do the same.

5. Don’t give them negative attention

The last thing you want to give a narcissist is attention, especially negative attention. Narcissists crave attention but giving them negative attention, such as lashing out at them, targeting them, or humiliating them, can result in them holding a grudge against you.

6. Be empathetic

If there is one way you can reach the mind of a narcissist, it is by empathy. An empathetic confrontation is an effective way to get a narcissist to listen to you and is often used by therapists to treat people with narcissistic tendencies. Develop a deep understanding of why they think a specific way and use this information to confront them about their behavior. Over a period, the narcissist may become receptive and oblige to visit a therapist or counselor for further treatment.

7. Always remember their nature

Narcissists hurt people in more ways than one. When you feel upset or bad about a narcissist’s unacceptable behavior, remind yourself that they are suffering from a problem they have no control over. That’s how they are wired!

Also, remember that their nature, behavior, and personality disorder have nothing to do with you, and you are in no way responsible for their behavior. Whatever they might say about you is not true, and you must always keep your self-esteem high.

8. Maintain clear, firm boundaries

Narcissists are the last people to follow their prior commitments, even if that has to do with staying within their limits. When you are dealing with a narcissist, you must set clear, firm boundaries (4). Also, never say or commit to something that you do not intend to do.

To safeguard yourself from a narcissist, you must do all you can to ensure you and they stay within their defined boundaries. If a narcissist crosses the boundaries, you must promptly show them their place, even if it means legal action.

9. Accept that you cannot change their behavior

It is natural for you to want to help someone with narcissism, but it will only aggravate their behavior. Instead of falling prey to their charming, gas-lighting, and manipulative ways, accept that you cannot change their behavior or personality disorder. The fact that they haven’t changed in so much time is indicative that they might not do even in the future. Accepting that you cannot change their behavior will reduce your expectations and give them less power to trouble or manipulate you emotionally.

10. Don’t try to win

Many of us deal with narcissists in our day-to-day lives and try to beat them at their game or outsmart them. However, this is not a good idea. By doing so, you are only helping them and adding fuel to the fire.

While your anger, frustration, and hatred come naturally, you should accept these feelings and move on. Every time you feel like giving it back to the narcissist, tell yourself that their behavior is their problem, and without your consent, they cannot put you down. These thoughts are instantly liberating and make dealing with a narcissist easy.

11. Ignore at times

If you are dealing with a narcissist who is not in your close circle of friends and family, the best way to disarm them is to ignore them. Be it a workplace colleague, a neighbor, or a parent in your child’s school, ignoring a narcissist gives them fewer chances to interact with you.

12. Build your self-esteem

Dealing with a narcissist regularly can be taxing and begin to affect your self-esteem. Many people live with a narcissist’s emotional abuse for years out of love and/or respect. In most cases, the non-narcissist begins to lose their self-esteem, making it even more difficult to live with a narcissist. An effective way to disarm a narcissist is to rebuild your self-esteem to give yourself the strength you need to deal with one.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are narcissists good at finding faults?

When things don’t seem to go in their favor, narcissists tend to find faults or blame others for mishappenings in their life.

2. What happens if I give a narcissist the silent treatment?

When you cut contact with a narcissist, they may revert and try to contact you in any way possible. They do so because they may view your silent treatment as a rejection and tend to become irritable when avoided.

Undergoing emotional abuse because of a narcissist is more common than you think. While you must do everything you can to protect yourself and your sanity, understanding how a narcissist thinks can help you develop empathy for them. Empathy is the key to a narcissist’s mind, and this can help them seek professional help for their psychological condition.

Key Pointers

  • To deal with narcissists, you need to accept their behavior that you cannot change.
  • Avoid feeding their egos and maintain your calm.
  • You could try being empathetic while dealing with a narcissist.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9742-narcissistic-personality-disorder
  2. Narcissistic Personality Disorder
    https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-disorders/narcissistic-personality-disorder.htm
  3. Erika N. Carlson et al. You Probably Think this Paper’s About You: Narcissists’ Perceptions of their Personality and Reputation.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3119754/
  4. How to Deal with a Narcissist.
    https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/narcissism/how-to-deal
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Shikha Thakur

Shikha is a writer-turned-associate editor at MomJunction. Having done a certification in Relationship Coaching, her core interest lies in writing articles that guide couples through their courtship to marriage and parenthood. She also specializes in baby names. Being a postgraduate in Human Resources from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, she likes understanding people and their relationships. This reflects in her relationship... more

Nora Tollenaar-Szanto

(MSc Psychology, EFT)
Nora Tollenaar-Szanto was a professional basketball player and sports marketer. She is now a certified Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) practitioner, Matrix Reimprinting and Psych-K Therapist, with a master’s degree in psychology. She enjoyed a career as a high-performance strategist for business leaders and professional athletes, helping clients overcome subconscious blocks and limiting beliefs to reach their full potential. Since the... more